Is ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ Real or Fake?

The Carbonaro Effect is one of TruTV’s most popular TV shows. The series has been going on for five seasons and follows magician Michael Carbonara as he does tricks and illusions on unsuspecting people.

As with any reality show out there, The Carbonaro Effect has been accused of being fake by some skeptical viewers. The series often gives the impression that it takes place in everyday locations with average people who do not know that they are being filmed.

However, is this actually true? Is the show as genuine as it seems or could there be some staged actions in there?

Why some people believe ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ is fake

Michael Carbonaro attends the 2018 Turner Upfront at One Penn Plaza.
Michael Carbonaro | Gary Gershoff/WireImage

Over the years, The Carbonaro Effect has attracted a few skeptics who point out a few things on the series that do not add up.

For example, a big scandal happened in 2015 when a YouTube user accused Carbonaro and his team of hiring actors to fake their reactions to his magic trick. The netizen claimed that this ultimately allows the production crew to film Carbonaro’s trick from multiple angles, and they posted a clip from The Carbonaro Effect that shows what looks to be a continuity error.

In response, Carbonaro posted a video showing viewers what truly happened. The source of the continuity error seems to be that Carbonaro had to reveal his trick twice because the woman he was pranking was not looking at him at the right time.

In other instances, viewers also notice that some of Carbonaro’s subjects are wearing mics because their voices can be heard clearly. This brings up the claim that they are actors. But Carbonaro reveals that he sometimes plants microphones on unsuspecting people — similar to a “reverse pick-pocket.”

Michael Carbonaro says that the people on the show are not actors

Carbonaro has always maintained that the people he tricks are everyday people and that their reactions to his tricks are absolutely real.

“Every person that comes in there and is fooled on The Carbonaro Effect is an unsuspecting person, not an actor,” he commented in an interview. “They do not know they are going to be fooled — and they are really fooled by real methods of magic.”

Since Carbonaro is getting more popular, there have been times where people recognize him. In that case, he and his production crew will stop filming that person and move on to somebody else. These days, Carbonaro also often dons disguises to keep his real identity a secret.

Filming ‘The Carbonaro Effect’ involves serious planning

Just because the show is filming real people does not mean that the production team can plant their cameras down and film whatever they want. In order to give fans a seamless viewing experience, a lot of planning actually goes into filming The Carbonaro Effect.

First off, Carbonaro plans his magic tricks with a team of magicians. This is especially important nowadays because his tricks have gotten a bit more complex. Carbonaro shared that he and his team of magicians are very close.

“I have people that I work with on the show that I literally met when I was a kid at a magic camp,” he told Reality Blurred. “We all get together, we sit in a room, and the ideas can come from anywhere.”

During the shoot, there are often several cameras around to film his trick and subject from many different angles. All of this, then, gets put together afterward by editors.

Another thing that viewers might not think too much about is where Carbonaro’s subjects have to stand. The crew does usually has ideal spots that they would like people to stand in simply so that the cameras will be able to capture everything. In this case, they will put markers (such as footprint decals) on the floor, and many people will just naturally stand on them.

Ultimately, it seems that The Carbonaro Effect is a real hidden camera show that films people’s real reactions. However, like any TV series, it also involves a large amount of staging and planning beforehand.